What Got me Back to Making Stuff
This post was going to be kind of a 2018 wrap up. But that’s not what’s on my mind. What’s on my mind is what a weird last week this has been. I finally had a week or two where I had no projects in the works. I wrapped up a few different projects and didn’t start any new ones. So instead, I’m going to talk about the mojo and motivation that keeps makers making.
Normally, I try to have one spinning, one knitting, and one sewing project in various phases of completion at once. That way, when one project gets tiresome after a few days’ focus, I clear my mental palette with one of the other ones. I think this is why my house isn’t filled with long-abandoned UFOs (unfinished objects). Because I have WIPs (works in progress) that make it to completion with my system.
But somehow, all of them just petered out. After the emergency trousers of last week’s post, I wasn’t interested in a deep stash dive to start sewing something new. I finished my dog’s sweater on a whim and didn’t even bother to put on buttons. I just safety pinned it to him and called it quits. And I can’t bring myself to decide what color to dye the last skein of yarn I spun. So it just went in the pile as plain old white.
Factors That Led to Loss of my Makers Mojo
Literary Distraction: When I think back to what was really slowed me down, I think I can really blame a great book. A great paperback makes an early bedtime so enticing (even though you aren’t going to sleep). Those precious making hours after the kids are asleep or even while they’re happily playing by themselves get eaten up between the pages. Nancy E. Turner’s These is My Words found me reading well into the night and during a couple of very early mornings.
Loss of personal motivation: Another factor slowing me down was probably just a plain old funk. I recently heard someone say the only time in their life they had stopped sewing regularly was for a year after their father died and 18 months after they got divorced. When I heard that, I had to put down the power tools I was using at the time feel validated. “Ok. Divorce can be more discombobulating than losing a parent.”**
**Sidenote: Do you think I can write a blog post someday that doesn’t mention divorce? Probably someday. But not today!
Also, I just got a full-time job, which also eats up a lot of weekly hours (she admits grudgingly). So I wasn’t exactly sitting around twiddling my thumbs looking for something to keep my occupied.
Symptoms of Makers Withdrawl
Now, regular people, not me, but regular people can probably function perfectly well if they aren’t making something daily. But I think I have started entwining my identity with making stuff. I take a lot of pride in the fact that my first instinct now when faced with a problem is to try to build (instead of buy) the solution. Need new work clothes? Sew some! Need some dance shoes? Make them! Run out of mascara? Hey Pinterest, whatcha got for recipes?
So when I spent a couple of weeks not doing that, I got pretty crabby and weepy and generally un-tethered to my normal self. I felt like a bad mom. I lost motivation at work. And I felt crummy physically.
Re-inspired! A Reminder of my Values & my Tribe
So what got me out of the funk? Inspiration through role models and tribe! And no, I don’t mean looking at patterns on Ravelry. I got my first issue of Taproot mailed to me last week and I set it on my nightstand for future consumption. I had some trouble sleeping (see above regarding general funk) and ended up reading the whole issue between 2 and 5 a.m. over two mornings. There were articles from women who endeavor to bring people from different backgrounds closer together. There were recipes for salves and foods and dyes I wanted to try. There was art, and color, and a renewed sense of purpose found on the pages. I fell asleep smiling. And I woke up enthused.
Ok. This is starting to sound like I’m just giving you a really hard sell on this magazine. But I’m not. What I’m giving you the hard sell for is to surround yourself with your tribe. This is something marketing gurus will tell you constantly for your social media business. But I think it’s really true in life too.
When I say find your tribe, I don’t mean just find some good friends. I mean do that too. But also, find some other outlets too. Listen to music that gives you a sense of purpose, not only music that makes you want to dance. Read things that remind you of what matters in life. Watch shows that focus on people doing good. We spend a great deal of time consuming media, and if we absorb too much drivel, it’s just the same as eating junk food. We will feel crummy.
I’ve been reading frothy books about love, heavy sci-fi novels, and historicals. I’ve been watching spy thrillers, and kids movies, and classics. But while I was very entertained by all of these, none of them left me feeling fuller. That took essays and other art from women who value what I value. Nature. Independence. Ingenuity. and Gratitude. Come to think of it, those line up kind of well with my 4 rules for my wardrobe. Ethics and nature go hand in hand in my book. Affordable and the ingenuity thrift can bring. Independence and the comfort it provides. And gratitude and the beauty it creates.
The more I read and watch works on self-improvement and enhancing lifestyle, I wonder why these values seem primarily focused on women? Why aren’t there any male Oprahs or Martha Stewarts or *insert more current lifestyle personality*? Are women generally more interested in a balanced life of wellness?
**UPDATE** It’s been a few days since I’ve been re-inspired. I’ve got my evergreen essence saturating in oil on my window-sill. Recipe courtesy of Taproot. I’m working through a yoke for a self-designed cardigan with my handspun blue that I’ve been sitting on for almost a year. And some homemade bath bomb Christmas gifts are drying my kitchen. I think I’m out of the funk for now.